FNB is now South Africa’s most valuable banking brand

First National Bank has taken over the title as South Africa’s most valuable banking brand, according to The Banker’s 2018 ranking of the Top 500 Banking Brands in the world.

The title was previously held by Standard Bank – which held the top position for two years.

According to The Banker, FNB increased its brand valuation by 23% in 2018 and moved up 16 places in the global ranking. Standard Bank, meanwhile, saw a drop of 10% in its brand value, and was the only South African brand to see a contraction.

While FNB’s 16-place climb in the global rankings is significant, it isn’t quite as large as the 56-place leap made by Capitec – the 18th fastest climber in the world.

The Banker did not publish individual lists or rankings for South African banks, but ranked South Africa’s entire banking system as the 26th most valuable in the world, with a total brand value of $7.14 billion (R85.8 billion) up 9% from $6.6 billion (R79.3 billion) in 2017.

The Banker’s findings are in line with the recent brand value rankings done by Brand Finance, which also saw FNB’s brand value hit the top of the local rankings, ahead of Absa and Standard Bank, which also topped the list in previous years.

Brand name Rank 2017 Rank 2018
First National Bank 157 141
ABSA 144 143
Standard Bank 130 144
Investec 166 177
Nedbank 171 182
Capitec 311 254
Rand Merchant Bank 389 377

Speaking to The Banker on its new position as the most valuable bank in the country, FNB said that it has positioned itself as the ‘helpful’ bank in South Africa, measuring its successes by how it “resonates with customers”, and not focusing on pushing sales in the short term.

This strategy has largely been reflected in the number of retail customers reported at the bank and its competitors over the past few financial years.

After an initial upswing in retail banking customers between 2012 and 2015, FNB’s customer growth numbers started to slow, making way for the likes of Capitec to overtake the more traditional banks in terms of client acquisition.

However, despite the slower approach at FNB, it remains the bank of choice in the middle to upper-middle income markets.

A poll conducted by BusinessTech over the past week showed that FNB still dominates in this bracket, attracting 34% of respondents.

Reflecting the bank’s recent strong gains in the retail market, Capitec is the second-most used bank, taking 21% of the votes.

The poll drew over 10,000 responses.

Read: Best and worst bank brands in South Africa in 2018

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FNB is now South Africa’s most valuable banking brand